Board helps support PC(USA) ministers who serve as chaplains

February 01, 2019

​​The first Sunday in February is set aside to honor U.S. chaplains. The Board of Pensions lends support to chaplains by administering the Chaplains Deposit Fund.

minister holding Bible

​The first Sunday in February is set aside to honor U.S. chaplains. Theirs is a unique calling, whether answered on the battlefield, in the hospitals of the Department of Veterans Affairs, or behind the bars of federal prisons.

For over 50 years, the Board of Pensions has lent support to chaplains by administering the Chaplains Deposit Fund. The fund provides pension benefits to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ministers whose federal tenure is too short to earn them a U.S. pension. Survivor benefits are also available through the fund.

The Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel (PCCMP) — which has adopted the nickname Presbyterians Caring for Chaplains and Military Personnel — pays pension dues to the Board. But the cost of administering the Chaplains Deposit Fund is absorbed by the Board.

“Since the Revolutionary War, chaplains have served the spiritual needs of those who answer the call to serve our country,” said John Matekovic, the Board’s Vice President, Income Security. “The Board is honored to be able to help the PCCMP in supporting these ministers and their families.”

The PC(USA) joins with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, and Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad in supporting the ministry of the PCCMP. The PCCMP works with church governing bodies and congregational committees to guide ministers on the road to becoming and serving as chaplains to veterans, military and Civil Air Patrol personnel, federal prisoners, and their families.

The Board-administered chaplains’ fund benefits only ministers of the Word and Sacrament. They accrue pension credits for each year of eligible service at 1.25 percent of the congregational ministers’ median salary. As is the case for PC(USA) ministers in the Pension Plan, those credits grow through apportionments.

“The first U.S. chaplain to die in battle was a Presbyterian minister,” Mr. Matekovic said. “His name was John Rosbrugh, and he answered General George Washington’s call to counsel soldiers in the Continental Army. The Board of Pensions is proud to honor his memory and all who have answered this very special call with our support.”